Profiles in Courage


Abigail: A Profile in Courage

Abigail: A Profile in Courage


Posted By on Oct 26, 2020

Abigail was known for her intelligence, beauty, and courageousness.  Her name mean’s, “My father is joy”.  Abigail’s intelligence would end up saving her own life, her husband’s life [temporarily]; and keep the soon to be king, David from sinning against God.  Conversely, Abigail’s Husband named Nabal, was harsh, miserly, and evil in his dealings (1 Sam. 25:3).  The name Nabal means “fool” and even his own wife referred to him in derogatory fashion: “For as his name is, so is he: Nabal is his name, and folly is with him…” (1 Sam. 25:25a).  In fact, Nabal was so evil he was disrespected by virtually all he was acquainted: his wife, an employee (v. 17), David, and ultimately by God in a fatal sense. While David was hiding from King Saul in the wilderness, he was hired by Nabal to protect his flocks of sheep.  David’s shepherding provided a fortress of safety and security for Nabal’s sheep and their shepherds (1 Sam. 25:15-16).  Upon hearing of Nabal’s post sheep-shearing feast, David dispatched ten young men to greet [“bless” him] prosperous Nabal, and to receive just compensation (1 Sam. 25:4-6).  Tragically, Nabal viciously rebuffed the young men, pretending to not even know David; so, they returned to David and reported Nabal’s scornful response (1 Sam. 25:4-12).   When David heard this, he was filled with rage and vowed to avenge Nabal for his maltreatment: “Then David said to his men, ‘Every man gird on his sword.’ So every man girded on his sword, and David also girded on his sword. And about four hundred men went with David, and two hundred stayed with the supplies. (1 Sam. 25:13, cf. 17, 21-22).  Great woe was about to befall the house of Nabal! However, when Abigail heard that Nabal cursed David’s men, she wisely wasted no time loading five donkeys with food to present to David.  Then mounting her own donkey, she swiftly rode out to meet David and his army. (cf. 1 Sam. 25:14-20).  How incredibly courageous it was for Abigail to risk her life to intercept the infuriated David, who was intoxicated with vengeance against her husband Nabal.   Once Abigail saw David, she quickly dismounted and humbly bowed down at his feet. (1 Sam. 25:23-24).  With meekness and humility she addressed David (speaking the most words ever spoken by a woman in the Old Testament, 153 Hebrew words–1 Sam. 25:24-31) 1   Abigail revealed bravery by taking the blame for Nabal’s offense, even though she was completely innocent of any wrongdoing: “On me alone, my lord, be the blame… But I, your maidservant did not see the young men of my lord whom...

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Ebed-Melech: A Profile in Courage

Ebed-Melech: A Profile in Courage


Posted By on Sep 10, 2020

Upon hearing the prophet Jeremiah’s pronouncement of God’s judgment, that was soon to fall on the city of Jerusalem [which at that time was under siege from Babylon]; the irate princes cried to King Zedekiah: “Please, let this man [Jeremiah ] be put to death, for thus he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man does not seek the welfare of this people, but their harm.” (Jer. 38:4, cf. 26:11).  The pusillanimous King failed to protect Jeremiah and handed him over to the charge of the princes, thus consenting to their pernicious plot (Jer. 38:5).  With murder in their hearts the princes took Jeremiah and lowered him into a filthy, miry cistern whereby Jeremiah sank in the sludge. (Jer. 38:6).  Because Jerusalem was in the latter stages of the siege from Babylon, it was unlikely that Jeremiah would receive food or water.  Therefore, a slow agonizing death from deprivation appeared inevitable. That said, a most unlikely candidate came to Jeremiah’s rescue.  Ebed-Melech meaning servant of the king, an Ethiopian eunuch and perhaps the head of king Zedekiah’s harem.1  After hearing of Jeremiah’s dire predicament, he boldly approached the king and said: “My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet whom they have cast into the cistern; and he will die right where he is because of the famine, for there is no more bread in the city.” (Jer. 38:9).  What courage and bravery were demonstrated by Ebed-Melech!  Not only did he risk his life by approaching the king while he was conducting official business (v. 7), but he accused the king’s princes of evil-doing—for he was just a foreigner, a lowly slave.  It must be noted that Ebed-Melech displayed care and compassion for the Lord’s prophet, that no other person demonstrated.  By God’s providence King Zedekiah granted Ebed-Melech permission to free Jeremiah.  Immediately upon receiving royal permission, Ebed-Melech acted and cleverly devised a plan to rescue Jeremiah from his miry grave.  He lowered old clothes down by ropes, telling Jeremiah to put the clothes under his arms as he raised him up with the ropes. (Jer. 38:11-13).  Ebed-Melech’s self-sacrificing courage may have went unnoticed by the people at that time, even by King Zedekiah; but God who sees everything (Job 28:24), blessed the lowly slave.  When God’s judgment befell Jerusalem utterly destroying the city, in which very few people had survived and the rest were taken as Babylonian slaves; God remembered the kindness Ebed-Melech exhibited toward...

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Obadiah: A Profile of Courage

Obadiah: A Profile of Courage


Posted By on Aug 24, 2020

Ahab, the evil king of Israel had a servant named Obadiah (“servant of the LORD”), who was a steward of the king’s household and he “…feared the LORD greatly” (1 Kin. 18:3, 12).  There was a severe drought which plagued Israel for three and half years causing famine conditions.  The prophet Elijah had earnestly prayed to God to bring the drought to prove the impotency of Baal, the Canaanite god of the rain and fertility (1 Kin. 17:1, Jas. 5:17).  King Ahab’s wife Jezebel was also extremely wicked and even more nefarious than her husband, for she was executing Israel’s prophets. Knowing of Jezebel’s treachery, the brave Obadiah courageously hid one hundred prophets in two caves, and amazingly managed to feed them bread and water during the famine (1 Kin. 18:4, 13)!  Moreover, he accomplished this monumental task surreptitiously and without discovery from the murderous Ahab and Jezebel. Scripture does not indicate if Obadiah accomplished this feat by himself or how long he maintained his perilous rendezvous to minister to the prophets in the caves.  However, one could speculate by the drought’s three-and-a-half-year duration, that it was a lengthy undertaking.    Obadiah’s heroic demonstration of faith should be inspiring to Christians who are facing peril while serving the Lord.  This small yet powerful couplet of Scripture [1 Kin. 18:3-4], serves as a reminder for the less notable, but extremely faithful servants of the Lord.  It is not only the prominent servants of God, e.g. Moses or Elijah, that are pleasing to God; but all who follow God with fear, faithfulness, and with their whole heart, are pleasing to the Lord.  Obadiah, first and foremost “feared the Lord” (1 Kin. 18:3).  The Apostle Peter called those of the church to: “Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.” (1 Pet. 2:17).  Obadiah feared God and still honored the king, for he was head of Ahab’s household (v. 4). It is hard to imagine Obadiah getting such an exalted position in the royal house, without reverencing the king.  However, even though Obadiah honored Ahab, he “feared” and obeyed God by performing His will—Obadiah saved God’s prophets.  Therefore, a Christian can honor his earthly king, while still fearing and obeying his heavenly King.  Furthermore, despite the perilousness of being discovered by the murderous King Ahab and his wife Jezebel, Obadiah “risked his life” for the prophets of God. (1 Kings 18:4). Scripture calls all believers to make the ultimate sacrifice if necessary: “We know love by this, that He [Jesus Christ] laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1...

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